San Diego Mesa College’s Vocal Ensemble traveled to Puebla, Mexico the week of August
19 to represent the school and the United States in the 17th Annual International
Choir Ensemble Festival.
Performing in the festival with choirs from Brazil, Columbia, Poland, Czech Republic,
Argentina, Mexico and Peru, each choir performed individually, before all nine choirs
joined together, accompanied by an orchestra on Sunday, Aug. 21.
After the main performance as a group, each ensemble traveled to sing in nearby towns
and communities. Each of those performances varied in size from 300-700 audience members,
with one of the largest performances resulting in Mesa’s Vocal Ensemble signing autographs
for the crowd.
The Mesa Vocal Ensemble recorded three songs during the festival: Stephen Foster’s
“Nellie Bly;” Vijay Singh’s “A Glimpse of Snow and Evergreen;” and “Wade in the Water”
– a spiritual first published by brothers John Wesley Work II and Frederick J. Work
in “New Jubilee Songs as Sung by the Fisk Jubilee Singers” in 1901.
Choral Director Richard Chagnon had a meeting in the mayor of Puebla’s office during
the first day of the trip, where he received awards on behalf of the Vocal Ensemble
as distinguished visitors to the city.
In addition to performing during the festival, the students attended a morning Mass
in the Cathedral of Puebla and took a trip to the Pyramids of Teitihuacan with the
choir from Brazil. During the field trip to the pyramids, the singers were able to
bond with their new group of international friends.
“Today I had a moment, after we went to the pyramids we sat down to eat lunch with
the Brazilian and Columbian choir,” Melody Ebner said in a post on her Facebook wall
on Aug. 20. “We conversed around a huge table listening to beautiful live mariachi
music. One by one we all got up and started to dance, and as I looked around I saw
all of my friends dancing with someone they had never met, laughing and showing the
biggest smiles. Then, I look and see the pyramids in the distance and cried of happiness.
Here we are, having never met these beautiful people before, and the power of music
and dancing brought us all together.”
Several members of the choir described the trip as “life changing,” giving them a
new look at both the world and their community at home in America.
“It really made you appreciate what you have here seeing everything over there,” Vocal
Ensemble member Sarah King said. King added that the trip has already helped her to
be “unafraid to try new things.”
The full list of students who went to Puebla for the festival includes Ana Alvarez,
Angela Bacabac, Angel Cueto, Christian Drugan, Melody Ebner, Sara Fisher, Larry Helland,
Zoey Jones, Sarah King, Trathen McCausland, Liora Naor, Jamie Obeso, Nils Olsson,
Iliana Ortiz, Samantha Owens, Douglas Presnell, Jason Reith, Lea Sanchez, Latifah
Smith, Zlatoslav Sokolov, Elizabeth Wiedemann, Mashavu Wilson and Brett Wolk.
For more information about the Mesa College Vocal Ensemble, contact Richard Chagnon
via email at email@example.com.
Tags: Vocal Ensemble, Music